Big Time could fairly be called an indie blockchain game. And yet, that would be one of the most unreasonable mischaracterizations possible. This blockchain-based 3rd person Action RPG, headed by one of the founders of Decentraland, is an ambitious and exciting project in the hands of an all-star cast.
Big Time isn’t another browser Play to Earn game; it is a game I would show genuine interest in even if it didn’t use blockchain technology. That is — as our regular readers will know — my benchmark for the future of gaming in our young sector.
One of the Most Promising Projects in Development
The blockchain gaming space has become busy quickly, but many projects are solo developers creating simple gameplay loops that are Play to Earn. Big Time is in a different universe to those, instead aiming at a AAA gaming experience with blockchain as a feature, as opposed to its lifeblood and sole attraction.
While I have some reservations, I’m excited to see Big Time’s growth and believe it has the potential to be the best game in the blockchain space, in terms of traditional gameplay metrics.
This is where things get a little tricky to unpack. Big Time appears to be, for all intents and purposes, a centralized decentralized game. It is going to be built with Ethereum, which causes a knee-jerk reaction in us blockchain gamers. We all know that the combination of transaction speeds and high gas fees mean it is not well optimized for gaming. Though this hasn’t yet been explicitly stated by anyone at Big Time, there are sidechain and parachain options to overcome these drawbacks with Ethereum.
However, it appears that much of Big Time will be off-chain. This is so that the on-ramp is easier for non-crypto gamers and they can avoid transaction fees in the in-game marketplace. I’m not sure what to make of this quite yet as I need more information, it really could go either way. The same can be said of the economy.
Play to Earn Mechanics
There is surprisingly little information on the blockchain side of the game; even finding which chain the NFTs were on took some digging. The FAQ on the official Discord is the best resource I could find, though many of the answers are on the vague side for the moment.
Big Time will be Play to Earn (P2E), but it’s a little unclear exactly how. There will not be a token and much of the game will exist off-chain. However, to the question of “How can we earn from Big Time?”, a representative of the studio listed ordinary RPG gameplay events. The economy, however, is far more unusual.
The NFTs in Big Time are cosmetic only as they do not want a Play to Win game. This is admirable and great for the gameplay, but does lower the ceiling of how much you can earn in-game, unless other currency-generating mechanics are implemented. However, I want to share the most surprising answer which was to the question, “What can I do with my cosmetic NFTs?”:
“Players can then sell, buy, lend or gift them to others via Big Time’s marketplace for fiat or crypto (USDC, BTC, ETH, and more). Big Time will provide hosted wallets and custody (NFTs) assets and as a result, don’t have to pay much on fees like you would if you were minting NFTs. You do NOT need to know about crypto to play.”
Visuals and Gameplay
There isn’t a great deal of in-game footage yet as it is still early days. However, from a mixture of the only available trailer (embedded at the top of this article) and their Twitter (embedded above), you can get a feel for what’s to come. The art style is attractive and coherent throughout, the gameplay appears smooth and reactive, and it’s an impressive start overall. There are some similarities with Wildstar for any MMORPG fans who played that some years ago, at least with regards to visuals.
One interesting and recent addition is Time Machines and SPACE. This seems to be essentially player and guild housing, though limited edition NFT Time Machines are going to be available, and some rewards from SPACE are NFTs too, so blockchain will have a role to play here.
The team is the project’s tour de force and to date, the most experienced and impressive assembling of talent behind any blockchain game I have seen. The CEO, Ari Meilich was a founder at Decentraland, and somehow, he has the least impressive CV on the roster. I’m just going to list some of the games the Big Time Studios team have worked on: Fortnite, Gears of War, Medal of Honor, God of War, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Overwatch 2, League of Legends, and several more.
Big Time is indie insofar as it’s a new studio without a publisher, but it’s about as an established and artisan group of people as you’re likely to see outside of major, mainstream projects. I have always been a firm believer in investing in people, not companies, and on that charge, Big Time has my full attention.
Communication and Transparency
Communication and transparency are central to any blockchain project to me and Big Time Studios rank above average. They have a lot of information available and the sheer volume of blog posts, Tweets, Discord announcements, and so on, is comforting.
My only hesitation is the lack of clarity in some areas. I’m convinced this is more through a lack of concrete plans on the developers’ part rather than anything sinister. This is a complex project and I wouldn’t expect any team to have everything ironed out while still in an early alpha build. As far as I can tell, the roadmap hasn’t even been finalized yet, so my reaction to Big Time Studios’ communication and transparency is positive.
Genre: 3rd Person Action RPG
Price: Free to Play, or $199 to $799 for Early Access.
Blockchain: Ethereum (ETH)
Play To Earn: Yes
Release Date: Early Access 2022
Final Thoughts (TL;DR)
- Big Time is a promising game being built by a great team and sits high up my list of blockchain games I’m chomping at the bit to play.
- The graphics and aesthetic are pleasing and of a high standard, and the gameplay appears smooth with depth.
- In-game player and guild housing looks to be a superb addition.
- I am a touch disappointed with blockchain’s integration in that they have opted for Ethereum, then moved much of the game off-chain to overcome the problems of Ethereum.
- Free to Play feels generous given the scope of the game and the talent behind it.
- Conversely, $199 to $799 for Early Access is frankly offensive.
- Early Access in 2022 feels too soon to achieve any finished product, but this team could well prove me wrong.
- Big Time is one of the most promising blockchain games currently in development.
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